Bet against the consensus (and be right)
It’s easy to go with what’s popular, when there is a general consensus of what's right or wrong. However, history tells us that any significant event, investment or invention came when people betted against the consensus and were right. This doesn’t mean that you always take a contrarian view just for the sake of it. You bet against the consensus because you discovered an insight, connected a dot, or can see the future before others can.
Share your analysis, not your opinion
Saying "I don’t like this“ is entirely within your abilities. So is to ask yourself the question; "What about this makes me feel uncomfortable?". The people around you don’t evolve because you give your opinion, they evolve because you share your observation, your analysis. It’s important to know the difference.
Always respect the person, but constantly challenge the idea
We encourage each other to challenge our ideas. The more diversity of thoughts we share, the more interesting an idea can become. However, in order to stress test them in a thoughtful manner, it’s important to always respect the person. To not make it personal, but to choose for the intellectual endeavour that explores the edges of the disagreement.
Don’t eat your own bullshit
There is actually very little original thinking in the world. We're all copy cats. We all remix from the people that caught our attention. Our thinking comes from the history books, the news or from our direct environment. In today’s world we get too attached to our own ideas, to our own bullshit. Be curious enough to try out someone else’s bullshit.
Just own that one line; "I don’t know (yet)"
The world would have a whole lot less ego in it, if we all learned to say: "I don’t know, yet“ more often. We have the tendencies to come up with lazy conclusions to complicated problems. Have the courage to own that line, ask for help, or take more time to explore an interesting hypothesis.
Obsess to create long-term value
The digital age is filled with clickbait and meaningless social media. They’re designed to manipulate our psychological weaknesses and fuel our addiction for the short-term. We humans are really bad in thinking long-term. That’s why almost none of us change our behaviour to reduce global warming, or to stop eating sugar. It's a more difficult road, but we believe it's better to invent, design and optimize for long-term value.
Be your confident, quirky and humble self
When you can truly be yourself, something remarkable happens. You feel less anxiety, are more open minded, and you are more willing to help others. Arrogance and ego (which comes from insecurity) don't belong here, but your confident, quirky and humble self absolutely does.
Always seek to understand
It’s the reason why we exist. To help people understand more about themselves, and about others. To help the best ideas to win. This won't come easy, it requires a lot of emotional labour. Especially when you feel irritated because someone says/does something you disagree with. It's an art to not judge the person, but to understand them first and foremost. The worst that can happen, is that you learn something.
Above all, build meaningful relationships
The first years at a startup (that actually tries to solve an interesting problem), involves a lot of hard work, stress and insecurity. It might not work. You will be sucked into an alternate reality. And if you really care about the problem, all of your time and energy will go into it. However, we can never lose sight of creating meaningful relationships. It’s what makes us human, what makes us feel alive and connected. Whether it's your teammate, your partner, your friends, or your family… carve out the time and energy to make those relationships meaningful. They all matter.
Have the courage to start over
The sunken cost fallacy happens to all of us. It's when you've spent so much time and resources into a decision, that your rationale turns into false hope. It's when you think… if we just do a little bit more of this or that, maybe then it will be ready. Unfortunately, sometimes the best thing to do, is to quit. To admit it was the wrong thing to do. To learn from the experience, and just start over. Knowing when to quit is a crucial skill if you want to succeed in the long term.